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5 Nutrient-Rich Foods for a Healthy Mood and Mind

Have you experienced anxiety, sadness, emptiness, or worthlessness? Do you suffer from a lack of concentration, sleep problems, fatigue, thoughts of suicide, or preoccupation with death? Do you feel loss or increase of appetite? All these things could be symptoms of depression.

While eating healthy food solely can’t beat depression disorder, various studies have shown that a good diet consisting of certain nutrients can have a positive impact on the symptoms.

Here are five nutrient-rich foods that can help enhance your mood and improve your mental and physical health.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a powerful plant-based source of the vitamin B complex, protein, and tryptophan – an essential amino acid that increases serotonin. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, and most antidepressants focus on the production of this neurochemical. In other words, consuming spirulina can have a positive impact on your nervous system and your mood.

You can choose between spirulina powder and tablets. Add spirulina powder to smoothies, juices, sauces, salad dressings, omelettes, pancake or muffin batter, or desserts like raw energy bars and truffles. A teaspoon a day is enough.

Flax

Flaxseeds and flax oil are another rich plant-based source of tryptophan and Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health and a variety of studies show that omega-3 supplementation helps reduce symptoms of major depression. What’s more, flaxseeds are one of the few foods that have a perfect Omega-3s to Omega-6s ratio.

The seeds can remain undigested, so you can either consume flaxseed oil or flaxseed meal. Add flax oil to salads, or on bread and sandwiches, but don’t heat it. Put ground flaxseed in smoothies or eat it with meals that have a higher glycemic index like pasta, rice, etc.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are another vegetarian mood-boosting and stress-relieving food. They are rich in tryptophan, protein, vitamin B1, and minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium – nutrients associated with muscle and nerve function. While deficiency of vitamin B1 and magnesium leads to muscle spasms, moodiness, and depression, zinc and iron can enhance the effectiveness of antidepressant therapy.

You can add sesame seeds to any dish or dessert, but since they may remain undigested, you can ground them, or use tahini (ground sesame seed paste) as a dip or toast spread.

Brazil nuts

Newer studies have reported a strong link between selenium levels and depression. However, there is an overdose risk when taking supplements, so it’s better to focus on dietary sources like Brazil nuts. They are not only the best dietary source of selenium, but they also have good amounts of magnesium and zinc.

You can eat them plain, but no more than one or two a day, since they are very rich in selenium.

  • Did you know that the most significant exporter of Brazil nuts is not Brazil but Bolivia?

Eggs

Eggs are packed with neurotransmitter-boosting nutrients like lecithin and choline, vitamins like B12 and D, minerals, healthy fats and large amounts of high-quality protein.

An appropriate dose of lecithin and choline can enhance mood, stress relief and sleep, and benefit in treating depression and anxiety. Even slightly lower than normal levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin D can lead to depression symptoms.

Cooking makes the protein in eggs more digestible but can damage the vitamin and antioxidant content in them. Shorter cooking time helps retain more nutrients.

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